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Travelling exhibits detailing residential schools stop at museum

Witness Blanket and 'We were taught differently' run until Nov. 30
2018-07-27 Simcoe Museum RB
Simcoe County Museum. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

MIDHURST – Simcoe County Museum is showcasing two travelling exhibits that promote awareness and understanding of the Canadian residential school system. The exhibit is featured at the Museum until Nov. 30.

During the pandemic, visits to the Museum must be booked in advance at

We were taught differently – the Indian residential school experience
This exhibit examines the Indian residential school experience, most particularly in two schools that were located in Kenora, Ontario – Cecilia Jeffrey and St. Mary’s. The exhibit tries to reflect the residential school experience nationwide.

Powerful images, text, video, archival material and personal recollections combine to tell the story of residential school experiences. Visitors will learn background on the residential schools, what life in the schools was like, the legacy of the schools, as well as information about the recent settlement agreement, and Government and church apologies.

The primary objectives of this exhibit are to acknowledge this part of our history; to promote awareness about the residential schools and the long-term effect they had on the First Nations people; and to honour those whose lives have been touched by the schools. It is an exhibit for everyone.

Witness Blanket
Inspired by a woven blanket, the Witness Blanket is a large-scale art installation, made out of hundreds of items reclaimed from the sites of former Indian residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures including Friendship Centres, band offices, treatment centres and universities across Canada. The Witness Blanket stands as a national monument to recognize the atrocities of the Indian residential school era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation.

The original Witness Blanket is currently undergoing conservation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, after touring Canada extensively over the past few years. A full-scale reproduction of the original art installation is on display at the Simcoe County Museum until Nov. 30.

Simcoe County Museum is opening with reduced operational hours and limited site access to allow for physical distancing. To reserve your visit, go to, or call 705-728-3721.

For current exhibits, as well as online activities and information visit You can also follow, like and share our profiles on Facebook (@simcoecountymuseum) and Twitter (@simcoecountyMUS.)